Food and Culture Essay

1397 Words Mar 20th, 2015 6 Pages
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The traditional and contemporary food habits of African Americans compared with the typical American majority diet Introduction I have chosen to write on African American food habits because I believe their food tells a story of endurance and adaptability during hard times. I’ve heard the word ‘soul food’ bandied about without actually knowing what the essence of it was. I would like to see what it’s unique features are and to know more about the possible cultural, social and other factors that informed early food choices. There are 41.6 million African Americans which amounts to about 13 percent of the total population. Traditional Food Habits The basis of African American food is ‘soul food’, a term that relates to the ingredients
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Low cholesterol foods are expensive and shops for blacks have limited choices (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). Health is not a priority when people make food choices. In a study, price was ranked the highest (37.3 percent) factor when it came to food choices while health concerns ranked lowest (21.3 percent) (Amenyenu, Tegegne, Sing, & Ekanem, 2010).

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Lack of affordable exercise facilities was a problem, too. Advertisers continue to promote high fat and salt foods lacking fiber (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). But an increasing move away from such foods in America, in general, may increase marketing for them among minorities as happened with cigarettes and beer (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). The unhealthy aspects of soul food may be taken out in the future because of an increasingly health conscious generation, health education in schools, a feeling that high salt and fat causes health problems (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). There are also cross cultural exposures through marriages, and as women become more career-oriented, they spend less time in the kitchen (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). Interventions could involve community churches and schools and various outreach programs to acquaint people about correct food choices. At present, literature on food choices for minorities is limited and interventions are at variance with the real lives of those they target. (Antin & Hunt, 2012). Interventions presently include taxes on junk foods, increasing the availability of fresh foods

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